Sheryl Lee, David Lynch, Kyle McLachlan and Sherilyn Fenn
Sheryl Lee – Laura Palmer
‘Who killed Laura Palmer’ was the question on everyone’s lips back in 1990. But playing the subject of that question meant that Sheryl Lee’s character was indeed dead in the show, and therefore only appeared via flashback or in dream sequences. Pre-Palmer, Lee had worked with Twin Peaks creator David Lynch, playing the ‘Good Witch’ in Wild at Heart. Post-Peaks she delivered a memorable turn as Astrid Kerchher in Beatles biopic Backbeat, and appeared in a bunch of movies that were either made-for-TV, or straight-to-video. Lee also reprised her most famous role in the terrifying Twin Peaks sequel/prequel Fire Walk With Me, while she briefly appeared in Woody Allen’s Cafe Society last year.
David Lynch (Gordon Cole)
Alongside Mark Frost, David Lynch is the brains behind Twin Peaks, but he also gave himself an acting role, playing hard-of-hearing FBI Bureau Chief Gordon Cole. Since then he’s appeared in multiple episodes of the sitcom Louie, and lent his unmistakable voice to Family Guy and The Cleveland Show. But Lynch is obviously best-known as a director, and his first major project after Twin Peaks was the unfairly maligned spin-off movie Fire Walk With Me. He followed that with Lost Highway, The Straight Story, and bona fide masterpiece Mulholland Dr., but more recently Lynch has concentrated on crafting short films, creating art, and preaching the joys of transcendental meditation.
Kyle McLachlan (Dale Cooper)
Kyle McLachlan was already well-known to David Lynch, having made his screen debut in the director’s doomed adaptation of Dune, followed by a starring role in perhaps his best film, Blue Velvet. Playing Special Agent Dale Cooper turned the square-jawed star into a household name, leading to parts in The Flintstones, Hamlet, and of course Showgirls. Where he featured in THAT jacuzzi scene. But it was back on television that McLachlan’s career truly flourished, with memorable recurring roles in Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives, How I Met Your Mother and The Good Wife. McLachlan was most recently seen playing Calvin Zabo in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
Sherilyn Fenn (Audrey Horne)
Before playing Twin Peaks’ brunette bombshell Audrey Horne, Sherilyn Fenn popped up in teen horrors The Wraith and Zombie High, and mainstream TV shows Cheers and 21 Jump Street. After the show, her film career blossomed with roles in Ruby and Of Mice and Men. Then she made Boxing Helena – a celluloid disaster that was written and directed by David Lynch’s daughter Jennifer – and the major parts pretty much dried up. TV movies followed – lots of them – while on the small screen Fenn bagged substantial roles in Dawson’s Creek, Gilmore Girls, Ray Donovan and Shameless.
Madchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook, Peggy Lipton
Madchen Amick (Shelly Johnson)
Madchen Amick kept it weird after Twin Peaks, segueing into Stephen King adaptation Sleepwalkers, and following that up with the equally twisted James Spader flick Dream Lover. But – as with many of her TP co-stars – Amick has had most success back on the box, where she’s lit up the screen in the likes of Gilmore Girls, ER, Joey, Gossip Girl, Californication, Damages, CSI NY and American Horror Story. Amick can currently be seen playing Alice Cooper in Riverdale, which isn’t a million miles from Twin Peaks in terms of style and tone.
Dana Ashbrook (Bobby Briggs)
As Laura Palmer’s boyfriend, Bobby Briggs was a prime suspect in her murder. And Dana Ashbrook played the character with an oddball intensity that kept audiences guessing about his involvement. Ashbrook himself specialised in horror-comedy before Twin Peaks, starring in Return of the Living Dead Part II and Waxwork. After the show, he made a chilling Clyde Barrow in a Bonnie and Clyde movie, and landed a regular gig playing Rich Rinaldi in Dawson’s Creek. He also starred in the TV spin-off from the movie Crash, and more recently appeared in the criminally underseen werewolf movie Late Phases.
Peggy Lipton (Norma Jennings)
Peggy Lipton was a big star before Twin Peaks, playing Julie Barnes in the 1960s TV smash The Mod Squad. Post-Peaks she appeared opposite British star Lenny Henry in the painfully unfunny True Identity, and popped up in Kevin Costner’s disastrous post-apocalypse drama The Postman. Roles in TV shows like Popular, Alias and Crash followed, while she also appeared in Kristen Bell’s hit comedy When in Rome.
Wendy Robie, Evertt McGill, James Marshall
Wendy Robie (Nadine Hurley)
Nadine Hurley was Wendy Robie’s first screen role. It was also an unforgettable one, and not just because of that iconic eye-patch. Her career since the show has itself been patchy, with one notable exception. Wendy reunited with her Twin Peaks hubby (see below) in The People Under the Stairs, playing yet another messed up couple. Wes Craven’s social scarer is one of the best horror movies of the 1990s and makes you wonder why – Vampire in Brooklyn aside – more genre filmmakers haven’t utilised her unique talents.
Evertt McGill (Ed Hurley)
Everett McGill forged a fruitful relationship with David Lynch that has been responsible for some his career highlights. McGill played Stilgar in Dune before Twin Peaks and ‘Tom the John Deere Dealer’ in The Straight Story after it. He even reprised his role as ‘Big’ Ed for Fire Walk With Me, though the scene was sadly cut from the finished flick. Aside from the aforementioned The People Under the Stairs, his most prominent gigs have been comedy My Fellow Americans and action flick Under Siege 2, while Twin Peaks aside, he’s probably best known for playing Ed Killifer in the nastiest of the Bond films, Licence to Kill.
James Marshall (James Hurley)
Last but not least, we’ve got James Marshall, who played the brooding son of Ed and Nadine, and the show’s answer to James Dean. Post TP he played a boxer opposite Cuba Gooding Jr. in Gladiator, and a marine alongside Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson in courtroom drama A Few Good Men. The co-stars dropped in quality after that, however, with Marshall acting opposite a bunch of canines in Soccer Dog: The Movie. Since then it’s been minor roles in minor projects. Meaning Marshall is probably thrilled to be returning to the show that made his name.